PCC Community Markets and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 said they have reached an agreement on a temporary pay boost of $4 an hour for the grocer’s union-represented staff at stores outside Seattle and Burien.
The move toward an equitable approach to hazard pay follows the city of Seattle’s recent mandate for large grocery stores within the city to raise pay by $4 for front-line employees during the pandemic. The Burien City Council subsequently passed a similar mandate for a pay hike of $5 that takes effect Feb. 17.
PCC’s hazard pay increase is retroactive to Feb. 3 — when Seattle’s law took effect — and will run through June 5. PCC employs almost 1,500 union-represented workers, including about 700 at stores outside Seattle. The Seattle-based co-op grocery chain operates 15 stores in the Puget Sound region, eight of which are outside Seattle.
The grocery industry has boomed in the past year, but in most cases, its workers haven’t received sustained pay increases.
PCC faced criticism after Suzy Monford, its CEO and president, initially opposed Seattle’s hazard pay mandate, citing the co-op’s financial results: $1.7 million in profit in 2019 but COVID-related expenses of $3 million last year. But after Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the legislation, Monford proposed the same pay increase for union workers at PCC stores outside Seattle.
PCC and UFCW Local 21 also announced that the grocer will create a curbside pickup service for shoppers.
The service “will help the co-op grow and sustain jobs, while also providing a safe, contact-less, modernized option for members and shoppers,” Monford said.